LAYTON -- Each ballot cast in today's municipal primaries will go a long way in allowing the voices of the voters to be heard.
"It is the single most important way to have your voice heard and be involved," said West Bountiful Recorder/Auditor Heidi Voordeckers.
But city recorders from several Davis and Weber county cities hosting a municipal primary today have mixed comments about whether people will indeed take the opportunity to exercise their voting privilege.
This being the first municipal election Voordeckers has supervised, she said she is uncertain what percentage of registered voters will be casting a ballot in this year's primary.
But she is encouraged, she said, because 50 early voters in her city have already cast ballots in the contest.
The highest percentage of voters to have cast ballots in a West Bountiful municipal primary is 30 percent, she said. Reaching that figure this time around may be difficult, because the city's contest does not include a mayoral race.
West Bountiful has eight candidates vying for three open four-year council positions.
The city primary will eliminate two from the contest, sending the six finalists to the Nov. 8 general election.
Layton officials are equally encouraged by the number of early votes cast for this year's primary.
Nearly 200 people voted early in Layton, which is "better than we have ever had," said City Recorder Thieda Wellman.
The highest percentage of voters casting ballots in a municipal primary not involving a mayor's race was 12.5 percent, she said. The average turnout for a Layton primary involving a nonmayoral race is 10 percent of all registered voters.
"It is a little bit higher when we have a mayor's race," Wellman said.
Early voting in Ogden nearly doubled to 327 votes from the last municipal election -- just more than 1 percent of the city's 29,000 registered voters, said City Recorder Cindy Mansell.
"Early voting is still just catching on with a lot of people," she said, adding she expects the primary will draw 15 to 25 percent of registered voters.
Syracuse City Recorder Cassie Brown said 220 early voters cast ballots in this year's primary. However, even though that number tops the number of voters in Layton -- a city more than twice the size of Syracuse -- she said, "in the past, we have had better numbers."
In 2009, with a mayor's race, Syracuse had 19 percent voter turnout and, in 2007 without a mayor's race, had 16 percent voter turnout, Brown said.
She attributes the low early voting turnout this year to its being a municipal primary, eliminating only one candidate from the field of seven competing for the three open council seats. Also a factor, she said, is that there's no mayoral race.
Eight Davis cities -- Clearfield, Farmington, South Weber, Centerville, Kaysville, Layton, West Bountiful and Syracuse -- are hosting a primary today.
With the exception of West Bountiful, which will use paper ballots to save on costs, Davis County has contracted with the other Davis cities hosting primaries to provide the voting devices and staff needed to run their elections.
In Weber County, Farr West, Harrisville, North Ogden, Ogden, Pleasant View, Riverdale and South Ogden are holding primaries, as is North View Fire District.
Ogden has primary elections for mayor, city council Ward 2 and At-Large Seat C. Votes in all these races will be cast electronically and counted by the county, said County Recorder Ricky Hatch.
"Things have been going so smoothly, it almost makes us nervous," Hatch said Monday.
"The number of primaries being held is a bit unusual, particularly with the number of candidates running, but the more discussion of the political scene there is, the better it works for all of us."